A marketing strategy identifies customer groups which a particular business can better serve than its target competitors and tailors product offerings, prices, distribution, promotional efforts, and services toward those segments. Ideally, the strategy should address unmet customer needs that offer adequate potential profitability. By concentrating your efforts on one or a few key market segments, you’ll reap the most from small investments. There are two methods used to segment a market:
- Geographical segmentation - Specializing in serving the needs of customers in a particular geographical area.
- Customer segmentation - Identifying those people most likely to buy the product or service and targeting those groups.
Successful marketing requires timely and relevant market information. An inexpensive research program, based on questionnaires given to current or prospective customers, can often uncover dissatisfaction or possible new products or services. Market research can also identify trends that affect sales and profitability.
The right price is crucial for maximizing total revenue. Generally, higher prices mean lower sales volume and vice-versa; however, small businesses can often command higher prices because of their personalized service. For step-by-step instruction on good pricing practices, see Facts for Business.
Advertising, if done correctly, can increase your business’s revenue and success. You have complete control over advertisements and because of this, you can be consistent with your business’s message and image. It is also important to remember that effective advertising takes planning, time, and persistence. Online and email marketing are cheap, quick, and easy ways to ensure that your business and product receive high visibility. Email marketing has relatively high response rates and it can aid in market research with demographic information that customers provide when signing up for an email newsletter.
Making Your Product Available
Working through established distributors or manufacturers’ agents is generally easiest for small manufacturers. Small retailers should consider cost and traffic flow in site selection, especially since advertising and rent can be reciprocal. For example, a low-cost, low-traffic location means spending more on advertising to build traffic.
View the following resources for further information on steps to marketing your business.